Growing Grapes - How to Grow Large & Juicy Grapes Year After Year
Getting highly productive grape vines that produces large and juicy grapes is a difficult task. But not if you follow the correct grape growing instructions. Big and delicious grapes every year can very well become your reality once you know how to grow grapes correctly.
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The process of growing productive grape vines is as follows:
Choosing the right location for your grapevine
Planting the vine correctly
Constructing a trellis system that is used to training the grape vine
Pruning the grape vine correctly
Knowing the time when it's time to harvest the grape berries.
The Planting Site is Extremely Important When Growing Grapes
Growing grapes isn't the easiest thing in the world but if you follow the following advice, then it doesn't haveto be so difficult.
It all starts with the planting of the grape vine.
Grapes need full and unobstructed access to sunlight and high temperature to produce large and juicy fruits. For this purpose you need to plant them on slopes that are facing south. A wall that is facing south is also a very good idea.
The soil has to be well drained and grape vines they need poor soil.
You have to decide which cane is the most vigorous and then cut everyone else off. Also look at the roots and trim off any that is too long, and see if there are any roots that are damaged. If that is the case then trim it off as well.
When you begin planting the vines you should space them 6 - 8 feet apart from each other. The hole you digg should be large enough so that the roots can spread without bending. Do not plant to deep.
When you have planted the vine, then it's time to cover it with a good humus layer consisting of leaf mulch, manure, grass clippings and coffee grounds. This layer should be about 4 - 6 inches thick. You do this to keep weeds away and to conserve soil moistures.
It's a very good idea to train the newly plant on a 5 - 6 feet high stake for support.
After about two weeks after you have planted the vines you should add about 1 lb of nitrogen to the plant.
Do not use any kind of herbicides anywhere near the grape vines. If you do then growing grapes can become an impossible task.
Grape vines are very sensitive to 2-4D which is used to control dandelions. If you use this then it might become impossible to get the grape vines to grow at all.
The grape vine plants will also need infrequent deep watering because of the deep stretching roots.
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Training or Trellis System When Growing Grapes?
The reason why you are training your grape vines is that it's easier to prune and harvest them.
The most easiest training system is the four arm kniffen system. It's the most simplest one for varietes that doesn't need winter protection.
The system consists of two horizontal wires. One at 36 inches off the ground and the other at 60 inches off the ground.
Training the grape vine begins when the plant reaches the first wire.
The drawback with the Kniffen system is that the grapes on the top wire tends to shade the grapes on the lower wire.
Next is a very important part of growing grapes successfully.
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Pruning is The Most Important Thing When Growing Grapes
Pruning a grape vine is a vey important part and it's one of the factors that decides whether you will have fruit, no fruit or high quality fruit.
It's a complete science in itself but the basics are:
You should only prune the grape vine when it's in its dormant stage. This means in the late autumn after the leaves has dropped.
Heavy pruning results in high quality fruit, but very heavy pruning results in no fruit at all.
The style of pruning depends on what type of quality you want on your grapes. As a rule of thumb: If you are making wine, then 20 - 30 buds per vine at maximum.
If you are making grapes for jam, juice or jelly then this number can go up to 100.
If you use the Kniffen system, then you should remove all shots that grow between the two wires.
Cut back to the third bud each year. This might sound much but it will grow back fast.
Canes that produced fruit will not produce fruit again the next year. That is why you need to prune so that new canes will grow out and produce fruit.
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Harvesting The Grapes You Have Grown
The harvest is done in the autumn/late summer. But don't base the ripening of the berries on the colour.
The berries will change color long before they have fully ripened.
Commercial vineyards use acidic test to see if the berries are ripened.
You can use your own taste. It's a very good indicator.
The best temperature for ripening grapes is 20 degrees celsius or 68 degrees fahrenheit.
Remember this tip: The quality of the grape berry will stop the moment you harvest it. Prematurely harvested berries won't get higher quality if you place them in the sun.